Who are Koreans and where is Korean society headed? How are Korea and Koreans changing as a result of social transition, in particular through the wave of globalization, the rapidly changing state of international affairs in East Asia, increasing cross-border migration, and supranational cultural exchanges?
The Korean Identity Survey started with these questions. The survey, jointly conducted by the Asiatic Research Institute (ARI) and the East Asia Institute (EAI), aimed to find answers to changes in the identity of Korean society. The first survey conducted in 2005 covered a wide range of subjects including the definitions of the Korean race, the qualifications necessary to “become” Korean, evaluation of Korean history, attitude towards ideology, and perception of unification. The second survey conducted in 2010 was expanded to include 250 questions in total, with new questions regarding multicultural policies, attitudes towards immigrants, changes in the international state of affairs, and perception of major neighboring countries, all of which have emerged as new matters of concern and interest in Korean society.
The survey revealed that the identity of “the Korean race” or one’s identity as “a Korean” are no longer considered fixed. It provided appropriate data for a dynamic analysis of the new aspects of identity, revealing that this identity is divided with complexity according to generation, class, and values. The survey dealt with how traditional conflicts such as conflicts between liberals and conservatives and between growth and distribution unfold, and also examined widely attitudes toward newly emerging, pending issues and future-oriented values such as integration of immigrants and foreigners into society, the introduction of multicultural policies, and the perception of an “East Asian” community. ARI plans to conduct the survey regularly to build up a database for a time-series analysis of changes in Korean identity.
The detailed characteristics of the surveys carried out in 2005 and 2010 are as follows: